Alex Smith hopes he can one day return to the football field after a nearly fatal leg injury, but the quarterback does not quite understand why one former teammate of his never got a second opportunity in the NFL.
Colin Kaepernick replaced Smith as a member of the San Francisco 49ers in 2012, a season in which Kaepernick led the 49ers to the NFC Championship and Super Bowl, which they lost to the Ravens.
It marked the end of Smith’s time in San Francisco and the beginning of what seemed like at the time to be a promising career for Kaepernick.
Yet, Kaepernick remains out of the NFL since the 2016 season, which was when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice in America.
Smith, who was making the rounds promoting ESPN’s E:60 documentary on his recovery from a gruesome leg injury in 2018, was recently asked about Kaepernick during an appearance on ESPN Radio’s ‘The Dan Le Batard Show.’
“It was hard to see that trajectory because he was playing so good and doing things that nobody had done,” he said. “I think he still holds the single-game rushing record for a quarterback. It was crazy.
“So, with that said, it was so absurd, I think equally, that it was only a few years later when you’re like, ‘This guy doesn’t have a job.’ That was hard to imagine, still is. A guy with his ability and trajectory that all of a sudden wasn’t playing.”
Kaepernick, 32, has tried to prove his worth on-the-field to return to the NFL. He attempted to schedule a workout in front of teams with the NFL last fall, but things became complicated and he instead held a public workout with much fewer teams in attendance, and was never signed by a team.